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Category Archives: Economics & Business

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Restarting or rethinking our old economy?

The ECB has again lowered its interest rate and expanded its Quantitative Easing (QE) program to monthly purchases of €80 billion. This all serves to boost economic activity in the Eurozone and to get the (real) economy going again. In theory, lower interest rates would increase consumption and investment, driving up economic activity. But will this really be the case? Or are there more fundamental problems at play in Europe?

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Privacy at stake: American practices on Dutch soil

Media were obsessed by it. It created headlines all over the world and was deemed a watershed moment in the big data era. We’re talking about the Apple vs. US government case. The charge? Apple was forced to supply data to the US government after the Boston bomb attacks had occurred. In order to trace the criminals responsible for this gruesome act. A just cause, it seemed. But Apple refused because of privacy reasons. No matter how urgent the case, the US government had no right to poke its nose into millions of people’s data. 

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Behavioural economics with the blink of an eye

Elections across the border or overseas, it seems to be a main topic for discussion. Applying economics to these political contests might then be an unusual approach. Though behavioural economics can help us a lot in explaining why people choose what they choose. The psychology behind our unconscious decision-making can be unravelled and rationalized with certain concepts. Our unconscious works quickly too. In how many seconds do you think you can guess the winner of elections?

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Did Nokia bring down Finland’s prosperity?

Nokia was widely known for making decent unbreakable phones, but they seem to have lost the battle on the mobile phone market when smartphones were introduced. The downturn of Nokia was not something new to me, but honestly I did not know that Finland’s economy was in a bad shape as well. After I read an article about the absence of a recovery of the Finnish economy in The Economist, I decided to look for the connection between Nokia’s and Finland’s crises.

How will the merger between Vodafone and Ziggo affect our telecom costs?

Just a few weeks ago two players on the telecom market, Vodafone Netherlands and Ziggo, announced a huge merger. The transaction is expected to be finished by the end of this year, as of then these two companies will continue as a joint merger. Vodafone will pay an incredible amount of €1 billion to Liberty Global, the parent company of Ziggo, to make this so called vertical merger possible. Vodafone (5.1 million customers) and Ziggo (4.2 million customers) both are major players in their respective markets. In this article I will have a look at the possible consequences of this merger. What will happen with your smartphone or television contract price? What has happened with similar mergers in the past? Could the merger maybe be prohibited by the European Commission?

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Dating and Mating through the Eyes of an Economist

The Economics study is often seen as a very practical, hard and feeling less way to approach the world. However, do not underestimate the use of calculations in daily life, knowledge sometimes is power. One of the most magical and difficult things in our existence is finding the love of your life. True love is something that we believe we cannot influence too much. Now it seems that an economic approach on dating can give valuable insights into dating and mating. Many problems arise in matching that are common in economics. For instance, finding a job might not be very different from finding a partner. Both parties should be happy to be matched.

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Does the silver spoon ever wear of?

In 2012 the US top one percentile gross income accounted for 19.3% of the total gross income. If you look further into the 0.1 percentile gross income you see that this accounts for an astonishing 8.8% of total income showing great income inequality. According to Atkinson, Piketty & Saez (2009) the top income shares have been increasing in the last 3 decades, not only for The United States but for most English speaking countries, as well as India and China. This persistence of economic inequality is evident and the top income elites have been a major obstacle. One possible explanation for this phenomenon, which has caught quite the attention in recent studies, could be intergenerational mobility.

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From cycling to money: Tour de France in Utrecht

Sounds good, hosting the start of the Tour de France, the biggest sport event in the world that is yearly organized. That is what Utrecht should have thought several years ago. The atmosphere, the city and country in the spotlights, nice events besides it and of course the best cyclists in the world coming to Utrecht are among the benefits of hosting this event. But what is the economic value of such an event?